Weekly anb10316.txt #7

WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 31-10-2001      PART #6/7

* Somalia. Still struggling - 20 October: The prime minister of Somalia's transitional government, Ali Khalif Galaydh, has warned the UN Security Council that his country could disintegrate and become a home for terrorist organisations if it is not given more international assistance. Mr Galaydh told the Security Council that although Somalia had been the recipient of generous humanitarian aid, it needed more money and assistance to build a properly functioning police force and state security apparatus. A recent report by the office of the UN Secretary General concluded that the Somali capital, Mogadishu, was still too insecure to establish a UN peace-building office. Somalia is a clear example of a country which will struggle to meet the high standards the UN Security Council is demanding in its push to eliminate global terrorism. After a decade of civil war it is still struggling to form a government that has support across the whole country. During an open debate on Somalia at the Security Council, Mr Galaydh warned there could be dire consequences if his plea for international assistance were ignored. "In the worst case scenario, Somalia will degenerate again into lawlessness, lack of central authority and then it will really be a self-fulfilling prophecy --this will be a place for terrorists, for people who are trafficking in drugs, people who are involved in arms trade and ultimately it's the Somali people who are going to suffer," he said. Comparisons were made between Afghanistan and Somalia by several Security Council members, with some warning that without assistance, Somalia could easily become another Afghanistan. The comparisons go beyond political and security similarities -- like Afghanistan, Somalia has also been gripped by drought conditions and Prime Minister Galaydh said one of the best forms of foreign aid at this point in time would be rainfall. 27 October: President Salad Hassan says that his fledging government will hold talks with opposition leaders in an attempt to bring them into his transitional administration. He says that talks between government officials and members of al alliance of faction leaders known as the Somali Reconciliation and Reconstruction Council, will be held in a neighbouring country "very soon". 28 October: The government of Prime Minister Dr Ali Khalif Galaydh loses a parliamentary no-confidence vote. 174 of the TNA's 245 members take part in the no-confidence debate. The meeting is held under heavy security in a meeting hall in a former police academy in Mogadishu. A total of 141 support the no-confidence motion, 29 vote against it, and four abstain. 29 October: President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan begins discussions on the next move for Somalia following the sacking of the parliament and cabinet. He tells journalists the search is now on for a new prime minister with "the capacity to contribute to reconciliation" in the strife-torn country. The motion against Mr Galaydh and his cabinet was tabled last week by members of the Transitional National Assembly (TNA). The parliament said the government had failed to bring security and economic stability to the country after a year in office. The President says that once the new premier takes office, he will have 30 days to form a cabinet. He also says a delegation representing many of the country's warring factions will be travelling to Nairobi in early November for talks with Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi. Mr Moi has undertaken to mediate talks aimed at moving Somalia towards political reconciliation. 30 October: The UN Security Council recommends strengthening the peace process in Somalia amid fears of a threat to global security. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 31 October 2001)

* South Africa. Floral riches at risk - A UK-based group, Fauna and Flora International (FFI), is working with South African colleagues to save the unique Cape floral kingdom. It contains about 8,500 species, 5,800 of them found nowhere else on Earth. But 1,400 species are thought to be critically endangered and close to extinction. Now, conservationists have worked out a plan to protect the area against the multiple threats it faces. There are six floral kingdoms on Earth -- the Antarctic, Australasian, Boreal, Neotropic, Palaeotropic, and the Cape. Each is distinguished by the number of endemic species it contains (species found nowhere else). The Cape floral kingdom is botanically more diverse than the richest tropical rainforest. It occupies about 90,000 square kilometres (35,000 square miles) at Africa's southern tip, stretching along the coast either side of the Cape of Good Hope. The main plant community is known as the fynbos, Afrikaans for "fine bush", and a reference to the fine-leaved shrubby species that make up much of the vegetation. The fynbos constitutes 80% of the Cape floral kingdom. The fynbos also contains many broad-leaved species, and it resembles other vegetation types like the Mediterranean maquis. It contains more than 7,000 species, nearly 5,000 of them endemic. It produces a huge and colourful display of wild flowers, and is the origin of familiar plants like proteas, geraniums and freesias. (BBC News, UK, 18 October 2001)

* Afrique du Sud. Winnie Mandela inculpée - Le 18 octobre, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, l'ex-épouse de l'ancien président sud-africain Nelson Mandela, a été inculpée pour fraude et vol dans une affaire de prêts bancaires. Elle s'est vue notifier 60 chefs d'inculpation pour fraude et 25 autres pour vol, portant sur un montant global d'environ 1 million de rands ($110.000). Elle a été remise en liberté provisoire contre versement d'une caution et sera reconvoquée le 20 novembre. Plusieurs fois mise en cause à la fin des années 90 dans des affaires de meurtres et d'enlèvements commis par son entourage aux temps de la lutte contre l'apartheid, Winnie Mandela a toujours réussi à s'en sortir et à conserver sa popularité dans les townships. (D'après Libération, France, 19 octobre 2001)

* South Africa. Study Aid Scheme - South Africa's student financial aid scheme, which is year spending 26 million pounds supporting more than 81,000 needy scholars, is to be reviewed under the Department of Education's new National Plan for Higher Education. The government wants to know how the scheme can help improve access to public higher education, which is faced with dwindling student numbers, and how it can raise student success rates. Pretoria has also asked the scheme's board to review income cut-off levels, coverage, the practice of not providing full-cost loans and the possibility of targeting priority fields for support. The Education Minister, Professor Kader Asmal, says the government was committed to ensuring that able but poor students were not excluded from higher education. The importance, attached to student aid, he says, is indicated by the fact that the scheme became a statutory agency in 2000, and by state allocations of 2.1 billion rands since 1994. A total of 2.9 billion rands has been spent on loans and bursaries since then. Numbers of students helped rose from 72,000 in 1996 to 81,000 this year. All in all, more than 376000 poor students received financial assistance in the five years to 2000. Loan recovery from graduates has begun in earnest, with 27.5 million recovered in the past financial year. Roy Jackson, chief executive officer of the Tertiary Education Fund that operates the scheme, expects 160 million rands to be recovered in the current financial year, thanks to new laws that enable the fund to dock repayments from graduates' salaries via employers and banks. Universities and technikons are allocated funds to cover the fees of poor students according to the demographic profile of their students. Students are eligible for loans and bursaries that cover fees, accommodation and books, based on their academic potential and family income. Those who achieve good results are able to convert 40 per cent of their loan into a bursary that does not have to be repaid, providing an incentive to succeed. (James Brew, ANB-BIA, South Africa, 21 October 2001)

* Afrique du Sud. Violences xénophobes - Le lundi 22 octobre, la police a tiré des balles en caoutchouc pour disperser une foule qui venait d'incendier deux baraquements de Zimbabwéens dans un bidonville de Zandspruit (Johannesburg), a annoncé la radio sud-africaine. La veille, 105 habitations de fortune occupées par des Zimbabwéens avaient été détruites et 174 pillées dans le même campement, qui compte 50.000 habitants. La population du bidonville avait adressé un ultimatum aux Zimbabwéens, exigeant qu'ils quittent les lieux dans les dix jours. Après l'expiration de ce délai, ils ont décidé d'expulser les Zimbabwéens et de détruire leurs baraques. Des habitants ont expliqué qu'ils étaient furieux de constater que les Zimbabwéens avaient un travail, alors qu'eux étaient sans emploi. Ils ont aussi ajouté que les étrangers étaient responsables de la criminalité. - Dans la nuit du 23 octobre, il y a eu d'autres incendies et pillages à Zandspruit. Malgré une forte présence de la police, d'autres maisons appartenant à des Zimbabwéens ont été incendiées. Des milliers de Zimbabwéens terrifiés sont allés se réfugier au poste de police voisin d'Honeydew. La police a arrêté 20 personnes accusées de violences. La Commission sud-africaine des droits de l'homme a condamné les attaques. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 24 octobre 2001)

* Afrique du Sud. Sida: Mbeki récidive - Le président sud-africain Thabo Mbeki a déclaré que les traitements antirétroviraux étaient aussi dangereux que le sida. Mbeki avait déjà mis en cause le lien entre VIH et sida, et le rapport du Conseil de la recherche médicale sud-africain, selon lequel le sida est la principale cause de mortalité dans le pays. (Libération, France, 25 octobre 2001)

* South Africa. "Co-operative government" - 29 October: South Africa's white-led opposition alliance has collapsed after the defection of the New National Party (NNP), the rump of the old apartheid movement, to seek an accommodation with the African National Congress. Its split from the Democratic Alliance, which it created 16 months ago with the Democratic Party and a small Afrikaner nationalist party, was brought about by the sacking of Cape Town's NNP mayor for his role in fabricating petitions in support of re-naming streets after former Presidents Mandela and de Klerk. 30 October: The NNP is in crisis as many members express opposition to a leadership decision to forge an alliance with the ANC. However, the NNP's leader, Marthinius van Schalkwyk, says his party is not seeking to merge with the ANC, but is interested in "Co-operative government". (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 31 October 2001)

* Soudan. Attaques des zones pétrolières - Entre le 12 et le 20 octobre, les rebelles du SPLA (Armée populaire de libération du Soudan) ont attaqué trois zones pétrolières situées dans les Etats d'Al Wihda, Nil supérieur et Bahr el-Ghazal. Selon le porte-parole des rebelles, ceux-ci auraient tué plus de 400 soldats et se seraient emparés d'un grand nombre d'armes et de munitions. Il a précisé que les opérations continueraient pour paralyser le business de l'or noir, à l'origine de "la mort et la fuite des habitants, et dont les gains renforcent le régime terroriste de Khartoum". Les rebelles relancent leur ultimatum aux compagnies pétrolières, les sommant de quitter le pays. - D'autre part, dans la nuit du 20 au 21 octobre, un avion de l'armée gouvernementale a bombardé des villages de la zone de Sopo, dans l'ouest du Bahr el-Ghazal, faisant 12 morts et de nombreux blessés. Selon le SPLA, les bombes utilisées étaient des bombes au napalm. 24 heures après le raid, les zones touchées étaient toujours en flammes. Le SPLA a demandé que des experts internationaux vérifient la nature des explosifs largués. (D'après Misna, Italie, 22 octobre 2001)

* Swaziland. Democracy meetings broken up - 20 October: Police in Swaziland have forcibly broken up a banned news conference organised by a pro-democracy alliance. The meeting with journalists was called to announce a programme of action to win the release of a detained opposition politician on treason charges. But the police issued a statement saying it could not go ahead because "such a conference will adversely affect the security of the country". Thulani Mthethwa of the Guardian newspaper of Swaziland, who was at the press conference, said: "They have ordered everybody, local and regional journalists to leave the house, and have assaulted one photographer,". The Swaziland Democratic Alliance includes civic groups, opposition parties, students and trade unionists. Alliance representative Jan Sithole said that protesters were prepared to pay any price for freedom. Detained politician Mario Masuku, of the People's United Democratic Movement is facing charges of sedition and faces up to 20 years in jail. Mr Sithole said Mr Masuku had been detained because of the views he was expressing, which were not treasonous by international standards. A year ago Mr Masuku had called on Swazis at a rally to "do away with the Mswati government" -- referring to King Mswati III. 27 October: Opposition grows against the king's order for teenage girls to preserve their virginity, as it appears that the army could get involved. 29 October: Riot police have contained a pro-democracy protest outside the High Court. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 30 October 2001)

* Tchad. Grève dans le secteur sanitaire - Le 24 octobre, le gouvernement a ordonné aux fonctionnaires de la santé publique de reprendre le travail dans les hôpitaux de la capitale N'Djamena. Une centaine de professionnels sont touchés par cette décision. Le 15 octobre, les fonctionnaires de la santé publique avaient entamé une grève pour forcer le gouvernement à payer des arriérés de salaire. A travers le pays, les hôpitaux et les centres de santé fontionnent avec un personnel réduit. La décision du gouvernemnt est fondée sur un décret présidentiel stipulant qu'en cas de grève le gouvernement a le pouvoir d'appeler les fonctionnaires à reprendre le travail. (IRIN, Abidjan, 25 octobre 2001)

Weekly anb1031.txt - End of part 6/7